editorial comment

BY yesterday afternoon, the country had recorded a total of 46 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, itself a confirmation that the virulent disease is still very much with us and we cannot afford to let our guard down by failing to stick to the necessary restrictive measures such as maintaining social distancing and wearing face masks in public.

COVID-19 remains a very serious threat and we cannot allow ourselves to slip into laxity as that can spawn an even greater increase in the COVID-19 cases. Members of the public need to continue with the habits of regular washing of hands, social distancing and putting on face masks in public because once we become lax in these, we expose ourselves to infection.

The challenge with the relaxation of lockdown measures is that it provides the disease with an opportunity to strike when we least expect, as has happened to other countries including Korea, Ghana and South Africa who, upon relaxing these measures, saw a spike in new infections. We cannot afford such laxity.

The fact that our statistics have remained negligible compared to other countries that have recorded thousands of deaths should not lull us into a false sense of security and so discard preventive measures. Everyone is still very much as risk, especially as we see our statistics gradually rising.

The indefinite extension of the lockdown should not have us becoming reckless but we must continue to be wary. We should not allow the low prevalence of the COVID-19 to lead us into complacency.

The disease exists and it is very real, so we can only ignore the necessary preventive measures at our own peril. It is also critical for the government and other stakeholders to keep educating the public about these important measures.

It is worrisome that in several high-density suburbs of Harare, particilarly Budiriro, Glen View, Glen Norah and Mbare, which can easily become epicentres because of high population densities, many have ignored the need to use face masks in public. It should not take an infection or death in those neighbourhoods for people to wake up. Prevention is always better than cure.

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